Martin on war path

16 January 2014 Author  

front sidney 17 janSydney Martin has fired another shot this time hitting at the Namibian government claiming that it made the conditions for the Norwegian meat quota favourable only to Meatco. In the process the Chairman of Witvlei Meat made Brukkaros a casualty, alleging that it does not have a meat export licence. This latest attack follows a series of allegations Martin has vented against Trade Minister, Calle Schlettwein, Meatco CEO Vekuii Rukoro and the white farming community.


Speaking to the Windhoek Observer yesterday Martin complaint that the bidding criteria was purposefully designed to disadvantaged Witvlei.

The determined businessman used the allocation given to Brukarros as an example, stating that by law any company that applied to bid for allocation of the quota must have an export license, which according to him Brukkaros did not have.

“I have absolutely nothing against Brukarros, but this instance clearly showcases that not everyone was in compliance, however Witvlei Meat was penalised alone,” he said.

According to Martin, Government only gave Witvlei Meat one month to comply with the requirements that were allegedly crafted deliberately to favour Meatco.

This is the latest salvo fired by Martin following earlier attacks made on the Minister of Trade and Industry Calle Schlettwein, questioning his competency in the allocation of 2014 Norway beef quota.

He also claimed that in the case of Meatco only white commercial farmers benefited from the Norway quota, as the meat north of the red line could not be exported to Europe.

Just this week Tuesday, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Meatco Vekuii Rukoro in a media statement rebutted what he called baseless and harmful allegations.

“Unfortunately Mr. Martin has opted to use the racial card in an effort to promote his cause and to tarnish the name of Meatco.”

“It is also the statement Mr. Martin used in his lobby to obtain the initial 50% of the Norwegian quota in 2012, it is as untrue now as it was then,” Rukoro said.

Martin continued to say that the shareholders of Witvlei meat were shocked to learn about the Cabinet decision regarding the Norwegian quota allocation.

“We expected that when someone invests in our country, Cabinet resolutions will also allow for a market conducive for returns on ones investment,” Martin said.

He referred to the additional investments that shareholders had pumped into the Witvlei abattoir to ensure standards and processes of hygiene that could meet the European markets high demands.

Martin also highlighted that Meatco had recently retrenched 400 of its workers, and asked whether the company would reinstate them now that Meatco had received a larger portion of the Norwegian quota.

He however, said that Witvlei Meat was always innovative in everything it did, and that if things took a turn for the worst there were other markets that it could explore, and that it always had a Plan B.

“When Meatco rejected the Norwegian market Witvlei was clever enough to develop the market, and in doing so created a benchmark for selling prices for the entire country,” he said.

Martin confirmed that the decision to take Cabinet to court for the second time was obviously a unanimous board decision, which they intended on following through.

He was however not too ruffled by the fact that the largest shareholder in Witvlei meat a Norwegian company called Nortura signed a memorandum of understanding with Meatco in November last year.

“Nortura is one of the largest beef import companies in Europe and it’s not astonishing that they have more than one supplier in Namibia apart from Witvlei Meat, that is not a problem for us,” Martin said.

According to the Chief Financial Officer at Meatco Nico Weck, Nortura and Meatco signed the MoU between them on 8 October 2013 to establish co-operation between the two companies.

“We have been providing them with what you could call a marketing agreement, of which we would look at certain levels of production and we would give them right of first refusal.”

“Most importantly Meatco and Nortura have shared interests, as we both want to see that the producer is the highest beneficiary in our respective markets at the end of the day,” Weck explained.

He further remarked that Nortura would like to see that the Norwegian quota benefits Namibian producers more than anyone else and that automatically put them at the same table.

The MoU among other things makes provision for an annual meeting to ensure everything is working well and to specify the marketing tonnages Meatco will provide in 2014. Witvlei Meat held an open day on Wednesday with all stakeholders where it informed them of revenues earned, profits made and how it utilised these profits.

“We presented the unqualified financial statements, also to prove that the notion that shareholders employ profits for their personal use was a blatant lie,” he concluded.
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The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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